Ciprofloxacin is medication that belongs to the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics. It is used to treat a number of bacterial infections. This includes bone and joint infections, intra abdominal infections, certain type of infectious diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, skin infections, typhoid fever, and urinary tract infections, among others.
Ciprofloxacin stops the multiplication of bacteria by inhibiting the reproduction and repair of their genetic material (DNA). The FDA approved ciprofloxacin in October 1987. Ciprofloxacin is available under the following different brand names: Cipro, Cipro XR, and ProQuin XR.
What side effects can Ciprofloxacin cause?
Ciprofloxacin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- vaginal itching and/or discharge
- pale skin
- unusual tiredness
If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, stop taking ciprofloxacin and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help:
- severe diarrhea (watery or bloody stools) that may occur with or without fever and stomach cramps (may occur up to 2 months or more after your treatment)
- peeling or blistering of the skin
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
- hoarseness or throat tightness
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- ongoing or worsening cough
- yellowing of the skin or eyes; pale skin; dark urine; or light colored stool
- extreme thirst or hunger; pale skin; feeling shaky or trembling; fast or fluttering heartbeat; sweating; frequent urination; trembling; blurred vision; or unusual anxiety
- fainting or loss of consciousness
- decreased urination
- sudden pain in the chest, stomach, or back
Ciprofloxacin may cause problems with bones, joints, and tissues around joints in children. Ciprofloxacin should not normally be given to children younger than 18 years of age unless they have certain serious infections that cannot be treated with other antibiotics or they have been exposed to plague or anthrax in the air. If your doctor prescribes ciprofloxacin for your child, be sure to tell the doctor if your child has or has ever had joint-related problems. Call your doctor if your child develops joint problems such as pain or swelling while taking ciprofloxacin or after treatment with ciprofloxacin.
Is ciprofloxacin safe during pregnancy?
According to the FDA, there are no controlled studies of ciprofloxacin use in pregnant women to show safety, an expert review of published data on experiences with ciprofloxacin use during pregnancy by TERIS (The Teratogen Information System) concluded that therapeutic doses during pregnancy are unlikely to pose a substantial teratogenic risk (quantity and quality of data = fair), but the data are insufficient to state that there is no risk. However, there are no human data available to assess the effects of long-term therapy in pregnant women such as that proposed for treatment of anthrax exposure.
Most studies did not find an increased chance for birth defects when women took ciprofloxacin or other quinolone antibiotics during the first trimester of pregnancy. Because these studies included women taking ciprofloxacin for only five to seven days, the effects of long-term use are not well known.
Ciprofloxacin should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the risk to both fetus and mother.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish taking ciprofloxacin, call your doctor. It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.